Last year, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Roatan, Honduras swimming with dolphins and drinking strawberry margaritas. This year we plan to trade the turkey dinner for sundowners in the Kenyan bush with elephants, lions, and hyenas.
Russ lobbied hard for Iceland or the Corn Islands in Nicaragua and he almost won the marketing war by telling Finnegan and Declan that they would need a plethora of shots for a trip to Kenya. After I straightened out that “Fox News”- style-attack with the truth, the boys were still game for a safari. They do need a vaccine for yellow fever before we leave, but they were both willing to brave the needle in exchange for the chance to see a cheetah (Finnegan) and a warthog (Declan). Russ may be winning the tomato wars in our garden, but I won the vacation battle. Victory is sweet.
Since Russ and I went to South Africa for our honeymoon, we were interested in seeing a different part of Africa on this trip. Our highest priorities were finding camps that would allow both boys to go out on the games drives and unique cultural experiences. We contacted Hippo Creek Safaris and they recommended either Kenya or Tanzania based on our interests and budget. Since the airfare to Nairobi was MUCH cheaper than the airfare to Kilimanjaro, the decision was fairly easy. November is an off-season month in Kenya and the rates for the camps and lodges are 40% lower than the peak season, which makes it a great time to travel.
We haven’t finalized our itinerary yet, but we know it will include a stay in two different safari camps – one in the Maasai Mara and another in a different part of the country, possibly the Lewa Conservancy. We will most likely stay at Elephant Pepper Camp in the Mara and their tents are exactly how I picture an African safari. Now I just need Finnegan to stop watching shows on National Geographic about ‘Africa’s Most Deadly Animals’ or ‘How I Survived a Lion Attack’ so I don’t start second guessing this whole trip.
Many of the safari camps in Kenya are near Maasai or Samburu villages so the cultural experiences are very accessible and the safari guides are generally from these groups. During the game drives we will be able to learn more about the wildlife as well as their traditional customs and lifestyle. I’m hoping Finnegan and Declan will also have an opportunity to meet Maasai kids.
My bucket list includes a stay at Giraffe Manor so I’m trying to squeeze in a one night stay. It’s outrageously expensive, but the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. What do you think – is it worth the splurge?